Monthly Archives: July 2018

The Primary Cause Of Business Financing Frustration

Finding proper business financing is not easy at the best of times for most small and medium sized business owners and managers.

There are a number of reasons that collectively explain why the business financing market can be so difficult to understand and navigate.

But probably the single biggest reason is the lack of useful information about how the business financing market actually works.

Business financing information and education sources predominantly come in two forms: 1) Text books; 2) Major bank advertising.

If you’ve ever read through a educational finance text book or taken a business financing course, you already know how difficult it can be to apply the theories, principles, and strategies to a small or medium sized business.

Our formal education system provides limited information as to how the market place works, how to plan for financing requirements, how to manage periods of growth, decline, transition, start up, etc.

Sure academic books and courses can go through all these areas in great detail, but is the information practical, real world, something you can relate to and apply yourself as a manager or owner of a small or medium sized business?

In most cases, the answer is a resounding NO.

Most finance text books speak to big business financing dynamics that are not easily transferable to small and medium sized business scenarios.

Outside of the formal education system, the next great source of business financing information is the information provided by the major banks, which they tend to make available to you by the boat load through their broad based marketing campaigns.

Unfortunately, the information by itself seldom helps you determine if a particular institution would be able to provide you with financing, or what would be required to qualify for a loan.

The good news is that business financing sources continue to grow in numbers as more and more lenders carve out a particular piece of the market to service.

In order to take advantage of these alternatives, you need to have a solid approach in place when seeking business financing.

Here’s a short list of things to consider

>>> Develop a solid, ongoing, understanding of both your personal and business assets, income, and cash flow.

Regardless of the business financing model, these elements will always come into play to some degree.

Being able to demonstrate a solid understanding of your business financials is also an indication of your ability to manage the underlying business.

>>> Monitor and manage your personal and business credit.

Small and medium sized business financing is focused on both personal and business credit histories.

Regular reviews of both personal and business credit reports from the major credit reporting agencies are important to avoid errors and credit practices that can severely damage your borrowing power.

>>> Develop your marketing position.

Yes, seeking business financing is a marketing exercise.

When applying for business financing, you’re marketing your business to lending sources and they in turn are marketing their business financing programs to you.

Think of the lender as a customer to better understand what they’re looking for. Then, develop a business proposal that addresses all their potential needs and concerns.

>>> Research Lending Sources

There are lots of business financing sources. But there is also lots of variation in the types of business applications each one is prepared to consider.

Broad based lenders rely on credit history and net worth. As you get more specific in terms of financing application and industry, lender programs become more narrow and can be harder to locate.

You need to consider things like industry, sector, and geography when looking for business financing sources.

Financing consultants and business loan brokers can be an excellent source of information to aid you in this process.

>>> Qualify The Lender

Before you make a formal application, find out if the lender has the programs and lending track record to meet your specific needs.

Too often, the lender is doing all the qualifying.

>>> Compare your options

Depending on the scenario, there can be several financing strategies that could work for your business.

Make sure you take the time to compare before making a decision. The extra time spent could save you considerable time and money in the long run.

>>> Start Today

Regardless of what your business financing needs are right now, you should regularly invest time staying on top of your business financials, monitoring your credit, and researching financing sources that fit your industry and potential future requirements.

Making the Right Choices for Financing

Healthcare decision makers face continual challenges when it comes to allocating scant recourses. Patients demand the best that medical equipment technology has to offer. But the equipment is expensive. Capital budgets typically fall way short of requests for medical technology. It is therefore critical that all aspects of the equipment purchases and financing be carefully considered before a decision is made.

Equipment to purchase:

Deciding what type of equipment to acquire can be a daunting task in and of itself. Let’s say you are considering the purchase of a CT scanner. The current and most widely-used model costs around $1 million new. You’ve also been approached by a supplier that sells refurnished equipment. His company will sell you a refurbished 16-slice machine for $400,000. You’ve also discovered that a new scanner is being rolled out in six months. Although this machine will be able to detect cancer and other diseases it its early stages, the cost is $1.5 million. What do you do? Will you be able to charge more per scan with the newest technology so that revenues match expenditures? Will you be able to “get by” with the 16-slice for a period of time? These are questions that are at the root of the decision.

Once the decision has been made as to the type of medical equipment to be acquired, the next challenge is to decide what will be the optimal way of financing it. There are many options available, but the most common are borrowing the funds from a lender or leasing the equipment.

Medical Equipment Leasing:

Equipment leases usually run from three to six years and have lower monthly payments than buying the equipment outright and financing it through a lender. That’s because the lessee is paying for the use of the equipment during the term rather than owning it. In addition, leasing offers 100% financing, as there is no down payment required other than the first payment and a security deposit equal to a payment. Since the payments are lower, providers are able to improve their cash flow and are more likely to match revenues with expenses. From a tax standpoint, leasing also offers the advantage of writing off 100% of the lease payments.

Many medical professionals also opt for leasing because of its flexibility. A lease can be negotiated in such a way as to include maintenance, upgrades, and other services. At the end of the lease term, the provider has the option to purchase, renew, or simply return the equipment. This is an important advantage, as it guards against equipment obsolescence. At the inception of the lease, you should consider negotiating a fair market value cap or placing an early buyout option in the contract. These details are rarely in a standard lease, so you must ask the lessor for these items.

Since the payments are lower, providers are able to improve their cash flow and are more likely to match revenues with expenses. From a tax standpoint, leasing also offers the advantage of writing off 100% of the lease payments.

Medical Equipment Loans:

When equipment obsolescence or cash flow isn’t an issue (which is rare in the medical industry), an might be a better alternative. At the end of the lease term, the provider has an asset that he can either continue using or dispose of it on the open market. Borrowers also receive tax benefits, such as the depreciation expense on the equipment and the interest expense incurred during the loan payout.

Using a multiple of EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) is a common method of valuing healthcare practices and hospitals. If a healthcare group is considering going public or selling the business, financing equipment through a lender may be advantageous because it would result in a higher valuation than if they had leased the equipment. Leasing would be an “above the line” expense.

Personal Guarantees:

With both medical equipment leases and loans, personal guarantees from the owners are usually required. This provides a comfort level for the lessor or lender. If there is a default, the lender/lessor can attach personal assets of the lessee for the balance of the loan or lease that isn’t satisfied by the liquidation of equipment. Most providers do not want to sign a personal guarantee for obvious reasons. However, if the clinic or practice has a solid track record of profits for five years or more, the lender/lessor will oftentimes abandon the personal guarantee requirement. That is another point that must be negotiated at the inception of the lease.

Choosing a lender or lessee:

Competition is fierce in the equipment financing industry. Acquiring the services of an independent financing consultant is advisable. A properly trained medical equipment financing broker will analyze your particular needs and will know which lender or lessee will be a good fit for your organization. He or she can guide you through the intricate details concerning the contract, which will allow you achieve optimal capital financing.

Why Independent Mortgage Consultants

If you’re looking for a good rate on your mortgage and don’t have any idea what you’re doing, then searching for an impartial finance consultant is enormously essential. They will present you recommendations, look at the whole marketplace on your behalf and come up with a deal  that suits your exact needs.

An independent consultant is always suitable since they aren’t attached to any lenders. You’ll see a lot of big name banks claiming they can broker you the greatest deal on your mortgage but in reality, they only represent a small number of providers. This means that when they look for a mortgage on your behalf, they will only be looking at the range of deals offered by a select number of lenders. So if you end up speaking to a mortgage broker check with them whether they’re tied, multi-tied or independent. The  is always best.

A few people may say that it’s somewhat old fashioned to use a consultant to locate a new  rate on your loan. With the development of the internet, it is easier to review the market yourself to seek out good deals. Nonetheless, there’s no replacement for receiving solid and informed information from skilled professionals.

If you do decide to use a broker and are able to find one you consider can help you, make sure you inquire up front about their fees. Some will ask you to pay them depending on the amount of hours they work on your behalf. Some will receive their payment from the finance company when they arrange the deal and you agree to it. They get a commission from the loan company for arranging the deal which is can be quite sizeable depending on the size of the mortgage you take out. Consequently you ought to be inquisitive about any added fees they bring up.

A good independent loan broker can be difficult to find so look for recommendations from associates and relatives. A mortgage is a huge decision for anybody and it warrants some time and effort on your behalf to make sure you get a good rate. If you don’t know your tracker finance from your variable rate finance then you should invest in the advice of an knowledgeable broker.